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Who's Who in Medieval History and the Renaissance

King Henry II of England




Great Britain: England

Also known as Henry of Anjou, Henry Fitzempress, Henry Curtmantle (Shortmantle) and Henry Plantagenet, this son of the Empress Matilda and Geoffrey of Anjou controlled considerable lands in France. His marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine increased his holdings and would produce eight children, two of whom (Richard and John) would become kings of England.

Henry was volatile, stubborn, and magnetic. He made important changes in English law and achieved some expansion of his territories throughout his reign. However, he is perhaps known for his quarrels with his family and the tragic episode of his one-time friend Becket.

Important Dates

Born: March 5, 1133
Crowned: Dec. 19, 1154
Died: July 6, 1189

Dynastic Table

Medieval & Renaissance Monarchs of England
Use this table to see the progression of Kings and Queens from Egbert of Wessex in the ninth century to Elizabeth I in the sixteenth. Hyperlinks lead to entries in Who's Who.


King Henry II of England
This portrait from Cassell's History of England - Century Edition is free for your use. Part of the Medieval and Renaissance History Portrait Gallery here at this site.

On the Web

Henry II on the Web

In Print

Henry II in Print

On Film

The links below will take you to a site where you can compare prices at merchants across the web. More in-depth info about the film may be found by clicking on to the film's page at one of the online merchants.

The Lion in Winter
Henry II (Peter O'Toole) must choose which of his three surviving sons will succeed him, and a vicious verbal battle ensues between himself and his strong-willed queen. Katharine Hepburn won a well-deserved Oscar® for her portrayal of Eleanor.

Henry clashes with his one-time friend Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, in this excellent drama with Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton.

Related Resources

Medieval Britain
Sites that focus on general British medieval history, people, places, events, documents, the Norman Conquest, the Wars of the Roses, and other aspects of Britain in the Middle Ages.

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